James Pethokoukis

Huntsman tax plan goes big and bold

August 31, 2011

Current polls say Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn’t a top tier candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. But he certainly has a top-tier economic plan. Huntsman will offer a broad proposal later today – covering taxes, regulation, trade and energy. But I already had a peek at the tax part. And I think it is excellent. Huntsman says he would do the following:

Will Hurricane Irene be a black swan for the U.S. economy?

August 25, 2011

The U.S. economy is growing very slowly, just 0.4 percent in the first quarter, 1.3 percent in the second. And it might not do a whole better the rest of the year. That’s a problem. A recent study from the Federal Reserve finds that that since 1947, when two-quarter annualized real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 48 percent of the time. (And when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 70 percent of the time.

On climate change, Romney is pretty consistent

August 25, 2011

What Mitt Romney is saying today about climate change is pretty much what he’s been saying all along. First, here is what he said yesterday:

Gloomy CBO forecast is now Obama’s best-case scenario

August 24, 2011

After reading one bearish Wall Street economic report after another, the new Congressional Budget Office budget and economic forecast looks absolutely glowing by comparison. The CBO sees the U.S. economy growing 2.4 percent this year, 2.6 percent next — and then a brisk 3.6 percent through 2016.

Economy poised to make Obama a one-termer

August 22, 2011

Just how much would a continued weak economy hurt President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection chances? There are a few different ways of looking at this — and none of them seem particularly promising for the man currently occupying the Oval Office:

Obama faces worst-case 2012 scenario

August 19, 2011

On Wednesday, Economic Forecaster-in-Chief Barack Obama said, “I don’t think we’re in danger of another recession.” Shades of John McCain’s “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

Obama vs. Perry on jobs

August 17, 2011

All kinds of numbers have been flying around comparing President Barack Obama’s jobs record vs. Gov. Rick Perry’s. The employment number most people know is the unemployment rate. The most recent state numbers, through June, put the Texas unemployment rate at 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate that month was 9.2 percent, worse but not dramatically so.  But that is the U-3 rate, and it does not include discouraged workers. Here is how the Labor Department describes things:

Tough to be bullish on Wall Street if you’re bearish on Washington

August 16, 2011

Why is Wall Street so worried these days? Investment strategist Jason Trennert of Strategas Research Partners offers a crackerjack bit of analysis. Even better, he turned bearish on Aug. 3, the day before the stock market began its stomach-churning roller-coaster ride (via Yahoo Finance):

Perry vs. Romney on Ben Bernanke

August 16, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry’s tough comments on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are another sign that the Fed and monetary policy will be big topics in the Republican primaries and the general election. There is certainly a stark difference between how Perry talks about the Fed, and how Mitt Romney does. First, here is Perry from yesterday: